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Best Courses Guides

7 Best Perl 5 Courses to Take in 2023

Here is a guide with the best courses to learn Perl, a general-purpose language perfect for high-performance in text-heavy applications.

Perl 5 is a high-level dynamic general-purpose scripting language popular among system administrators, network engineers, and web developers. It is best known for its text-processing capabilities, specifically its own in-built version of regular expressions.

If you want to learn one of the highest-paying languages in tech, you will find the perfect course in this guide to get you started in Perl, even if you are not a programmer! I’ve made this guide following a well-defined methodology that you can find below.

But if you are in a hurry, here are my top picks. Click on one to skip to the course details:

Course Workload In Brief
1. Perl tutorial (perlmaven.com) N/A Best free Perl course for programmers
2. Perl Enough to be dangerous (Ned Dev) 3 hours Best free Perl crash course for programmers and non-programmers
3. Learn Perl 5 By Doing It (John Purcell) 14 hours Best comprehensive Perl course
4. Perl 5 (Exercism) N/A Best free Perl exercise provider
5. Perl 5 Essential Training (LinkedIn Learning) 5 hours Best course based on the “Modern Perl” movement
6. Perl 5 Fundamentals (Pluralsight) 4 hours Best practical course to master the basics of Perl
7. Perl Essentials for Professionals (Geekuni) N/A Best comprehensive course for working professionals

What is Perl 5?

Perl 5 is a high-level dynamic general-purpose scripting language developed and released in 1987 by Larry Well. It was well-loved among system administrators because of its efficient text processing features, such as regular expressions and string parsing, enabling them to handle large amounts of data. But with the rise of the World Wide Web, Perl had a second wave of popularity thanks to its ability to quickly and easily manipulate web content.

Perl has undergone numerous changes and improvements over the years, including a redesign that split off into its own programming language called Raku. Despite this, Perl remains a valuable tool in the era of cloud computing, with companies like DuckDuckGo, Yahoo, and Amazon continuing to use it for its high performance and versatility. In addition to its text processing capabilities, Perl is also capable of object-oriented and functional programming, terse one-liner expressions, and importing a massive number of third-party modules from the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN).

Perl remains one of the top highest-paying languages according to the 2022 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, with a median yearly salary of $90K. So if you’re looking into web development, system administration, data analysis, bioinformatics, or any other text-heavy applications, Perl can open up many great opportunities.

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Best Courses Guides Methodology

I built this ranking following the now tried-and-tested methodology used in previous Best Courses Guides (you can find them all here). It involves a three-step process:

  1. Research: I started by leveraging Class Central’s database with 100K online courses and 200K+ reviews. Then, I made a preliminary selection of 20+ Perl courses by rating, reviews, and bookmarks.
  2. Evaluate: I read through reviews on Class Central, Reddit, and course providers to understand what other learners thought about each course and combined it with my own experience as a learner.
  3. Select: Well-made courses were picked if they presented valuable and engaging content and they have to fit in a set of criteria and be ranked accordingly: comprehensive curriculum, affordability, release date, ratings and enrollments.

Course Ranking Statistics

Here are some aggregate stats about the ranking:

  • Around 600 people are following the Perl Courses topic on Class Central.
  • 3 courses are free or free-to-audit, 4 courses are paid.

Without further ado, let’s go through the top picks.

1. Perl tutorial (perlmaven.com)

Gabor Szabo, course instructor

My #1 pick for the best Perl 5 course is Perl Maven’s Perl tutorial.

This free course teaches you the basics of the Perl 5 programming language to get the job done. You will learn both general language features and common modules, including the standard module and CPAN modules.

The course also comes with a companion 5 hour video course if you prefer that format of learning.

You should have prior knowledge of programming languages to take this course.

What You’ll Learn

After a brief introduction to the Perl programming language including setting up the development environment, you’ll start by learning about basic programming concepts like getting user input, operators, conditional statements, loops, functions, and also scalar variables. Then, you’ll get to know how to write to and read from files.

Lists and arrays are fundamental data structures in programming. You’ll learn the methods necessary to use them effectively, including manipulation. Afterward, you’ll also learn that subroutines are functions that always return a value and how to use them recursively. Lastly, you’ll also learn about another data structure called hashes which are key-value pairs.

Perl is well known for its own efficient implementation of regular expressions directly into the language. You’ll become acquainted with it and be able to write your own regex expressions to capture any string you want, especially in the shell.

Finally, you’ll learn how to import modules from CPAN, which is Perl’s module repository. You’ll explore a few popular third-party modules from there and use it in your own code. Additionally, you’ll take notice of several common warnings and error messages you might encounter while coding.

How You’ll Learn

This course consists of 12 chapters. You’ll learn by reading through the course articles, watching the lecture videos, and running the code samples on your own computer.

Website perlmaven.com
Instructor Gabor Szabo
Level Beginner
Workload N/A
Certificate None

Fun Facts

  • Gabor who runs the Perl Maven site helps companies set up test automation, CI/CD Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment and other DevOps related systems.

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

2. Perl Enough to be dangerous (Ned Dev)

My second pick for the best Perl 5 course is Perl Enough to be dangerous.

As the name course implies, it will teach you enough about Perl to get you standing on your own two feet. This free concise course is only three hours long, and is great for both those with no background with programming and those who do have prior experience.

What You’ll Learn

After setting up your Perl development environment, you’ll start off by creating a “Hello, World!” program as a file and by executing Perl code in the terminal. You’ll then learn the programming basics like scalars and the types they may take, along with conditional statements and loops to help you formalize program logic.

Next, you’ll learn about data structures like the array and the hash. These data structures will prove very useful when you inevitably deal with complex data. You’ll learn the functions related to them before writing your own functions or subroutines. Additionally, you’ll learn how to gracefully deal with run-time errors.

The final few chapters of the course cover getting input from a user or a file and returning an output. You’ll also see the beauty of the built-in Perl regular expressions parser and appreciate its pattern-matching functionality, as well as functions like reverse, map, and grep.

How You’ll Learn

This course is 3 hours long. You’ll learn by watching the lecture videos and following along with the instructor as he codes throughout the course.

Channel Ned Dev
Provider YouTube
Level Beginner
Workload 3 hours
Views 4K
Likes 105
Certificate None

Fun Facts

  • Ned Dev publishes videos about Perl 5, Web Development, and Security. Check his channel out.

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

3. Learn Perl 5 By Doing It (John Purcell)

My third pick for the best Perl 5 course is Learn Perl 5 By Doing It by John Purcell.

Although this paid course is quite old, it still packs a lot of wisdom regarding the Perl programming language. You’ll learn lots of common uses of Perl, like web scraping, regular expressions, command-line, parsing XML, database-querying, sysadmin tasks, and more.

To take this course, you should already know the basics of programming.

What You’ll Learn

You’ll begin this course with a quick survey of the language’s syntax by creating a simple “Hello, World!” program, and right after that you’ll learn how to read, download, and write text and image files with Perl. Regular expressions will prove to be a vital utility here, and you’ll learn how to write succinct regex statements to match all sorts of values when reading files or even web scraping. Combined with arrays and hashes, you’ll have an extremely versatile tool under your belt.

Turning your scripts into a command line program would greatly benefit not only you but also others in your company, so you’ll learn how to develop one using subroutines. Parsing XML files and complex data structures will also be taught to you.

Perl can communicate with databases. The course uses a MySQL database as a demonstration of how to create, modify, or query databases, although Perl can definitely work with other SQL frameworks too.

There are two ways to share code in Perl: packages and modules. You’ll learn the difference between these two and also learn how to download and use third-party code from CPAN. Writing clean object-oriented code will also be of great benefit. Finally, the course ends by setting up an Apache HTTP Server and creating a basic web application entirely using Perl.

How You’ll Learn

This course has 14 hours worth of material. You’ll learn by watching the lecture videos and following along with the instructor as he codes. You’ll also be given exercises and projects to work your hands on throughout the course.

Provider Udemy
Instructor John Purcell
Level Beginner
Workload 14 hours
Enrollments 15K
Rating 4.4 / 5.0 (2.3K)
Certificate Paid

Fun Facts

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

4. Perl 5 (Exercism)

Exercism is a free online platform providing programming exercises for all kinds of difficulties, helping people level up their skills through hard work and practice.

Although there are many exercises you can find on the web, the main reason why I recommend Exercism is because it provides free personal mentoring for any exercise that you want to be reviewed and gives constructive advice and feedback. Hence, beginners to Perl will find it especially useful to see what idiomatic Perl code is as they progress through the exercises.

What You’ll Learn

The Perl module in Exercism only contains easy exercises for beginners.

There are two kinds of exercises: implementing algorithms and data structures, and developing useful programs.

Some algorithms and data structures you’ll implement are binary search and binary search tree, custom sets, doubly linked lists, and more.

And for programs, there are plenty to choose from, like calculating the grades of students given their marks, reporting leap years to more mathematical programs like computing Pascal’s triangle and implementing a shift cipher.

How You’ll Learn

This course is self-paced, so you can take all the time you need to complete the 60+ hands-on programming exercises. Each exercise comes with automatic analysis of your code as well as personal mentoring to help you understand your code’s strengths and flaws.

Provider Exercism
Level Beginner
Workload N/A
Enrollments 2.2K
Certificate None

Fun Facts

  • Exercism provides exercises on 50+ programming languages like Python, Kotlin, F#, and even WebAssembly.
  • Their mission is to help everyone get really good at programming, regardless of their background, share the love of programming, and help people upskill as part of their upward social mobility.
  • 44 people have contributed towards the Perl syllabus and exercises, with over 60 mentors available at the time of writing.

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

5. Perl 5 Essential Training (LinkedIn Learning)

Perl 5 Essential Training taught by Bill Weiman is based on the “Modern Perl” movement, which promotes mature syntax and reusable modules. In this paid course with free trial, you’ll be provided with the basics needed to write effective scripts in the Perl language and maintain existing code bases.

The course also includes a quick-start guide for experienced developers who want to get up and running with Perl 5 quickly.

No prior experience with Perl is required to take this course.

What You’ll Learn

We’ll start with an introduction to basic syntax of the Perl language and dissect the anatomy of a simple Perl script. Then, you’ll learn how values and variable assignment work, along with data types like strings and numbers.

Control flow is a basic but often most important construct in any code, so you’ll learn how to define logical flow with conditionals and loops. You’ll also learn how to call and define functions, otherwise known in Perl as subroutines.

With the fundamentals out of the way, you’ll uncover the hidden beauty of Perl’s powerful regular expression system. Afterward, you’ll also be shown Perl’s simple, yet powerful object-oriented programming model. In the final chapters of the course, you’ll get to know the basics of file handling, reusing code with Perl modules, and the best coding practices.

How You’ll Learn

This course has 5 hours worth of material. You’ll learn by watching the lecture videos and following along with the instructor as he codes. There are also chapter-wise programming exercises for you to work on and develop your Perl coding skills.

Provider LinkedIn Learning
Instructor Bill Weinman
Level Beginner
Workload 5 hours
Enrollments 25K
Likes 4.7 / 5.0 (170)
Certificate Paid

Fun Facts

  • Bill Weinman is a tech advocate, entrepreneur, and expert in programming languages such as C++ and Python. He has also authored several books and online courses on the technical aspects of the World Wide Web on LinkedIn Learning.

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

6. Perl 5 Fundamentals (Pluralsight)

In the Perl 5 Fundamentals Pluralsight course, you’ll learn to master the basics of the Perl language. The course revolves around building a utility around credit card maskings, and you’ll approach the course with this in mind. By the end of this paid course with free trial, you’ll have comprehensive knowledge of the Perl language and have the skills necessary to develop fast, secure, and portable automation or monitoring scripts.

No prior exposure with Perl is required to take this course.

What You’ll Learn

The course opens with a simple ‘Hello, World!’ program where you’ll learn the basic syntax, before setting up a development environment and presenting a real-world program you’ll solve in the course — handling credit card data.

Next, you’ll explore both simple and complex data structures that Perl offers (like lists, arrays, and hashes), along with various flow constructs like branching logic (if, if/else), conditional logic (while, until), and looping logic (for, foreach).

Handling files in Perl is another core feature of Perl. You’ll learn how to check files, read, and write to it as well as handle any I/O errors. But there’s an even more exciting and fundamental feature of Perl called regular expressions, which you may have already known but Perl has its own regex nuance. You’ll explore basic pattern matching, extracting the matches, substituting and translating text.

Afterward, you’ll learn how to refactor the code using Perl subroutines and its parameters. You’ll also learn how to package a module to distribute and reuse elsewhere, as well as download and install Perl modules from CPAN. Finally, you’ll have a sneak peek on how to interact with popular databases like Oracle and MySQL directly from your Perl code, write code to test your Perl code, and engrain some of the best practices recommended by the Perl community.

How You’ll Learn

This course is 4 hours long. You’ll learn by watching the lecture videos, following along with the instructor as he codes, and working on a credit card project in Perl.

Provider Pluralsight
Instructor Saravanan Dhandapani
Level Beginner
Workload 4 hours
Certificate Paid

Fun Facts

  • Saravanan Dhandapani is a solution architect working in the financial domain focused on end-to-end design and architecture.
  • You can find the course’s GitHub repository here: saravanan75/perl5 (github.com)

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

7. Perl Essentials for Professionals (Geekuni)

Perl Essentials for Professionals is a paid course designed to get you up to speed with Modern Perl by learning through doing. Your end goal for this course is developing an airport search engine, and everything you’ll work on in this course contributes towards that. By the end, you’ll be sufficiently skilled in Perl to implement sophisticated functionality with only a moderate amount of coding.

No prior experience with programming is required, though familiarity with the command line is assumed.

What You’ll Learn

The first topic this course covers is the fundamentals of the Perl language, including scalar variables and their data types. Then, you’ll move on to data structures like arrays, lists, and hashes. You’ll learn the difference between them and how to use them effectively when managing grouped data. Additionally, control flow and conditionals will be introduced to help you make decisions with these data.

Subroutines allow you to pass values to be executed in a different block of code before returning functionality back to the main code. With subroutines, you can compartmentalize code into different use cases, and combined with references that allow you to access the same data but with a different variable, you’ll have different approaches to passing parameters to them.

Regex matching and substitution is a powerful tool included in the Perl toolset. You’ll find them especially handy when reading text data either from a file or over a network. Finally, you’ll learn how to access the hundreds of thousands of Perl modules on CPAN and use them in your code.

How You’ll Learn

This course consists of 8 topics. Throughout the course, you’ll work on an airport search engine project. To help you out, you’ll be given many exercises for you to code and solve that all relate to the capstone project.

Provider Geekuni
Level Beginner
Workload N/A
Certificate Paid

Fun Facts

  • For those with prior programming experience, there is a fast track available within the course.
  • Geekuni is an online institute founded by Andrew Solomon that provides software development and web development courses.

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

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Elham Nazif

Part-time content writer, full-time computer science student.

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